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Olympian’s £6m Coolham home goes up for sale

JPCT 220714 S143104343x Mike Corby, a former hockey and squash Olympian for Great Britain, has put his house �6m Coolham Manor up for sale -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140723-093834001

JPCT 220714 S143104343x Mike Corby, a former hockey and squash Olympian for Great Britain, has put his house �6m Coolham Manor up for sale -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140723-093834001

The house in the Horsham district where King Edward VIII is said to have courted Wallis Simpson is up for sale for a breathtaking £6million.

Former Olympian Mike Corby has owned the nine-bedroom Coolham Manor for about 20 years and he has now decided it is the time to downsize.

Complete with six bathrooms, a lounge, entrance hallway, drawing room, games room and indoor swimming pool, this mansion sits in 100 acres of land in Coolham Road between Coolham and Thakeham.

Outside the house is surrounded by a pretty cottage garden, apple orchard, three homemade aviaries, a riding school and a tennis court. Beyond that are five acres of woodland and fields.

Mr Corby, 74, said: “I have it coppiced. I have improved the wood hugely. We had a buzzard and all three woodpeckers nesting here.

“If someone can afford to buy it, it’s just the most wonderful place to be, especially if you’ve got children or horses.”

The contents of his home add to its charm.

Dotted around are pieces of art, antiques and ornaments, which he has picked up from antique rooms and auctions - some for just a few pounds.

One of his favourite pieces sits in his hallway in part of the original parts of the house. It is a copy of Rodin’s Rose Beuret in a Straw Hat, which cost him just £85.

The father of four said: “I go to auction rooms. I love it. It doesn’t have to be expensive.”

The house has an interesting history.

It used to be called Hunger Hill, perhaps because when the farm workers grew short of food, the lord of the manor would tell them to meet him on the hill to hand out wheat.

It kept the name until about 30 years ago when the previous owners changed it to Coolham Manor.

In the last century there is rumour that the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII, took Mrs Simpson there.

Later still, Anna Massey the actress was born in one of the bedrooms.

Mr Corby meanwhile has his own story to tell.

Following in his parents’ footsteps, he represented Great Britain in international squash and hockey.

He said: “My father was a great sportsman and would have been in the 1940 Olympics, but war broke out.

“My grandmother could hit a ball very well. I’ve got a combination of both their genes really, but you have got to have the determination to succeed.”

His sporting talent took him to the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and Munich in 1972. He was all set to compete in the 1968 Olympics, but was injured.

He added: “I played for England and Great Britain and captained for both. Walking around the stadium you can dream of being Jesse Owens or whoever. It was wonderful.”

He once held the record for the most number of caps and still has the copy of the Guinness World Record Book for 1972 where his name appears.

Also at that time he started building up his sports club business. He said: “I’m lucky I have so much. I started with nothing. My dad left me £85. I’ve done it all myself.

“I’m like most people. You just muddle through life. If you see an opportunity you take it. That’s an art.”

He owned a chain of 18 leisure centres across the country. He has sold most of them, but still owns three including Storrington Squash Club.

Selling up his home after two decades years is going to be hard, but Mr Corby said he just cannot manage it now.

“My children are leaving. They all want to live in London. It used to be fun. It’s now a chore. It takes me six to eight hours to cut the lawns. I will miss the whole feel of it all. We have felt at home and we have loved it.”

His housekeeper Dany Guiriaboye, who has lived there for 21 years added: “It’s a lovely place. I walk (in the woods) four to six times a day with the dogs. I can close my eyes and know exactly where to go.”

Anyone interested in buying Coolham Manor can email coolhammanor@gmail.com

 

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